St Louis

I stayed at the Chase Park Plaza while visiting Washington University Medical School and the Barnes Jewish Memorial Hospital . The hotel is within walking distance of the campus which has a useful shop selling Washington University branded everything, and close to the site of the famed World Fair at the beginning of the 2Oth Century which is now just a park.

The Hotel seemed to be a focus for the smarter side of St Louis with a cinema and several very good restaurants, which, unusually for North American Hotels attracted non-residents for dinner . On a balmy evening ask for a poolside table and try the coconut chicken.

The cosy hotel bar was also bustling after work .

My standard room was more like a suite with a kitchen - turn right out of the hotel and a supermarket is within 100m (Straubs 302 N Kingshighway) However, do not stray too up this road as I was told by reception that the area I chose for a stroll was distinctly rough.

The metro system works well and felt safe - be certain to visit the Busch stadium - the home of the St Louis Cardinals - a huge amphitheatre with a relaxed family orientated atmosphere. The club shop sells excellent presents to take home for children. I bought a ticket at thr box office on the day.

Visit the St Louis Arch and the excellent museum at its base devoted to the West with plenty of dioramas , stuffed animals etc.

Try Route 66 Brewery and Restaurant 1820 Market Union Station - drink the 66 Red and eat nachos at the bar

Travelling to the airport - beware of the scam from taxi drivers which had me - 'I have no change sir' - they know you are in a hurry !

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